ALLEGED victims of the Duterte administration’s war against illegal drugs went to the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday to appeal for a stop to the bloody campaign.
The petitioners, Aileen Almora, Rowena Aparri and Jefferson Soriano, questioned Command Memorandum Circular No. 16 – 2016, the governing document of the anti-drug campaign issued by Philippine National Police chief Ronald de la Rosa on July 1, 2016.
Also, they sought to declare unconstitutional Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)
Memorandum Circular 2017-112 on the anonymous reporting of suspected criminals, for violating the right to due process of law and to be presumed innocent.
They claimed that said orders were illegal and must be declared unconstitutional.
The petitioners were represented by the Free Legal Assistance Group.
Named respondents to the case were de la Rosa and DILG Undersecretary and officer-in-charge Catalino Cuy and all officers, agents or other persons acting under their authority and supervision.
The petition argued that the circular clearly authorized the police to slay suspected drug pushers instead of doing regular police function, which is evidence-gathering and case build-up.
It pointed out that Oplan Tokhang, in which authorities are supposed to go from house to house to convince drug suspects to surrender, was meant to kill the drug offenders.
The circular was anchored on the campaign promise of then Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte to rid the
country of illegal drugs within the first six months of his term.
Recently, the high court issued two writs of amparo and a temporary protection order (TPO) vs Oplan Tokhang.
The writs of amparo involve the petition of a survivor and relatives of four slain garbage collectors in a reported “tokhang” operation by policemen in Payatas, Quezon City on August 2016.
The second case involves the issuance of a TPO in favor of petitioner Christina Macandog, wife of Joselito Gonzales, who died of multiple gunshot wounds on July 5, 2015 in Antipolo City after an alleged encounter with Police Inspector Aristone Dogwe and a certain Chief Insp. Garcia.
PNP men have been placed in hot water after their involvement in the “Tokhang for ransom” and killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo inside the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame.
The killings of teenagers Kian Loyd delos Santos, Carl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman have also sparked public outrage.